Heaven (Heaven, #1)

ISBN: 0689822901
ISBN 13: 9780689822902
By: Angela Johnson John Jude Palencar

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African American Battle Of The Books Currently Reading Fiction Realistic Fiction Series Teen To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

Marley has lived in Heaven since she was two years old, when her mother found a postcard postmarked HEAVEN, OH on a park bench and decided that was where she wanted to raise her family. And for twelve years, Marley's hometown has lived up to its name. She lives in a house by the river, has loving parents, a funny younger brother, good friends, and receives frequent letters from her mysterious Uncle Jack. Then one day a letter arrives form Alabama, and Marley's life is turned upside down. Marley doesn't even know who she is anymore -- but where can she go for answers, when she's been deceived by the very people she should be able to trust the most?

Reader's Thoughts


A fast, good read. My kids really like this one, especially those who also read First Part Last. They like knowing that Feather and her dad are alright. As usual, Johnson manages to pack quite a punch in a fairly short book. She had me crying!

Kenzie Keppner

This was a pretty good coming of age book. It was just very sweet and a nice read. I loved the main character Marley. She really thought very deeply for her age and I guess when you find out something like your parents really are not your parents, then you kind of have to grow up quickly. She was very mature for her age and I felt like she already had a good understanding of life. Although I have not read "The First Part Last" I know Bobby and Feather are from that book. I want to read that book now to find out who Feather's mother was!Violence: 1- No violence, it was very mellow and sweet.Language: 1- I think the main character is still a bit young to swear a whole lot, but I don't remember there being any swear words.Drugs/Alcohol: 1- No drugs or alcohol. Like I said a very mellow book.Sex: 1- I don't believe Bobby is very old but he has a daughter. That's about the extent.

Cat Conner

"Heaven" is about a young girl named Marley who lives in a town called Heaven, which is ironic because those around her and the situations in which Marley finds herself are anything but divine. "Heaven" explores Marley's discovery of a huge family secret which makes Marley question the integrity of her family and friends. "Heaven" also describes the lifestyle of certain African American families without going into the subject of racism. Marley, through the exposition of her best friend Shoogy, also deals with teen issues like cutting. "Heaven" is more of a character study than the exposition of a plot.I didn't care for this book, mostly because I felt like Marley wasn't that strong of a character and I couldn't identify with her. I haven't been subject to her family secret and couldn't really understand her frustration and sense of alienation. I also didn't share any of her interests or shy personality traits, so Marley's problems didn't grab me the way they might someone of her age or in her situation.The saving grace of "Heaven" was the story of Bobby, who is a character in Johnson's novel "The First Part Last". I enjoyed seeing Bobby's unique situation and how he was raising his daughter, Feather, by himself even though he is just a teenager. I wish I had just read "The First Part Last" instead of "Heaven". The scenes with Bobby provide a grabbing point for the reader and compassion and awe for his situation. The character of Bobby kept me going.Although I didn't like the novel, I think that young girls learning to find themselves for the first time would enjoy it. The book just wasn't pertinent to my age group or anything I dealt with as a preteen.


"Heaven" by Angela Johnson(from the back cover)At fourteen, Marley knows she has Momma's hands and Pops's love for ice cream, that her brother doesn't get on her nerves too much, and that Uncle Jack is a big mystery. Happy in her loving family in the caring community of Heaven, Ohio, Marley doesn't know all she thinks she does. And when the truth comes down with the rain one stormy summer afternoon, it changes everything. It turns Momma and Pops into lairs. It makes her brother a stranger and her Uncle Jack an even bigger mystery. All of a sudden, Marley doesn't know who she is anymore and can only turn to the family she no longer trusts to find out.Wonderful book about growing up in a little country town. Marley's world is about to come unraveled. What she thought was her family is about to change, but will it really change? Through all this Marley has some friends to help her along the way. There is Shoogy Maple who lives the perfect life with her perfect family, only everything isn't perfect with Shoogy. There is Bobby Morris and his baby Feather, who Marley babysits, but Marley doesn't know much about the life Bobby left in New York. Through all of this Marley has to figure out who her family really is. I don't want to tell you the mystery, because this would give away the whole plot of the book. It's an easy read and moves along pretty fast.

Destinee Tate

This book was really good it was one of those books you kind of have to put the pieces together to make the book make since like how the box represents her identity.

Jesycca Cousineau

Marley was a fourteen year-old who thought everything in her life was perfect. She lived in an idealistic small town called Heaven, had a loving family, and had good friends. Then her world turned upside down when she learned that her parents were not her real parents and that the man she believed was her uncle were her actual father. The book recounted her struggles as she tried to readjust her life and learn about herself again.For me, this book didn't quite make the mark. I was expecting a good story, but all I got out was a whole lot of "huh?" The book was not written clearly, and I got confused from time to time. It was good, just not that good.


I actually listened to this book and I missed a few key words, as a result I listend to two of the cds twice. The second time through I realized Johnson was using some of her characters from "The First Part Last".


Marley has lived in Heaven, Ohio since she was two years old. She has Momma and Pops and her brother, and her friends Bobby and Shoogy, and her Uncle Jack who writes her letters from all over the country. But when she learns that Momma and Pops are actually her aunt and uncle, and the Uncle Jack that she has been writing to and receiving letters from for 10 years is actually her father, she has to take a look at her life and decide if this new information really changes things.This was a happy, read-in-an-hour-on-a-Sunday-afternoon kind of book. It was thoughtful, and I was intrigued by the character Shoogy, as well as Bobby and his daughter Feather. It wasn't plot-driven, but character driven, but I left with a generally peaceful feeling. Not particularly thought-provoking, but maybe it would have more meaning to me if I'd been adopted and not known it for most of my life.

Kimberly Scott

fourteen year old Marley grew up in Heaven, OH with her Momma, Pops, and little brother Butchy. Her life had always been secure with a loving mother and father and a brother whom she got along with. She would receive letters from her Uncle Jack often, but she had never met him. Her happy life is turned upside down when she finds out that Momma and Pops are not her real parents. Her mother, Christine, died in a car accident and her father, "Uncle Jack" could not handle taking care of Marley by himself. Marley struggles with what family means and who she really is, until she sees all those around her. She learns that love an create a family bond even if they aren't your blood relatives. The plot of Heaven seemed very generic. The plot went like this; there was a perfect life that was drastically changed by something that was more dramatic then it should be. The character then learns and gives a little "lesson learned" conclusion at the end of the novel. I also did not appreciate the writing style. It was confusing at times. Some parts seemed to try and create suspense, but it only confused me. I didn't want to read the book at some moments because of the writing.

Linda Lipko

When 12 year old Marley discovers that she is adopted, her perception of who she is and the parents who raised her is turned upside down.Learning that her uncle is her biological father, she struggles to define truth.This book is well written and the characters are all very likeable. I didn't feel the issues were depicted as in depth as they should/could have been.


Has a really good message about what family means. A lot of love in this book. It read a bit like a (longer) short story - not a lot of action, but plenty of character change.


Heaven is the story of a young girl who learns a secret about her past that shakes the foundations of her identity. I picked this up the day after I read The First Part Last because I tore through that book so quickly and I needed another dose of Johnson's writing. The main character of that book makes a few appearances in Heaven and helps the main character navigate her new place in her world. I finished this the same day I purchased it.


Marley is happy with her seemingly perfect life in Heaven, OH. She has good friends and a loving family. Until the letter arrives. Now it seems that her parents aren't really her parents, her brother is her cousin, and her real father is Uncle Jack, a man she can't remember who only sends her letters. Now Marley must figure out how she fits into this new family.


I like Marley and would love to live in Heaven but the characters are not fleshed out very well and the whole book feels a bit shadowy. Quick read though and one which raises interesting questions...

Ms.poe's Class

It was about this girl and she didn't get to see her mom and dad so she had to stay at her aunt house because she had no where to go so her aunt said she could stay with her.She didn't know she had a brother so her aunt Was telling her all about him like how old he was?when he was born what date he was born.Then after that they got done talking about her brother. Then she asked her aunt why she didn't see her mom and she said your mom died she said why and she said well really dont know because I didn't see her that much I took care of her when she was sick ands he got really sick and I couldn't do nothing because i was 15.So the girl went to school the next day and. She got mad because after school her aunt wouldn't let her her go outside she had to do h homework first. So she said ok and she got on the school bus. Her aunt was talking to her husbane about the little girls brother. But before the girl went to her aunts house they didn't tell the girl about her mom they waited 8 weeks so the girl got mad at ran out the door. But her aunt ran after her because she didn't know where the girl would go.One day a man pulled in her aunts drive way and he picked up something from the little girls aunt and he left and the little girl ask her aunt who was that and she said you Dad and she was so happy and she started to run away and started to chase the car.I like this book because it's a mystery to me because I wanted to see how her mom died so read this book and you will find outKaycee

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